Like many, I looked at the recent press release about Illinois deer management open houses as a bit of a yawner.
But the other night, during a dinner conversation with Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller, I was surprised to hear him say that the state is going to make some deer management changes. And those changes will likely include reducing permits in some areas and reducing deer harvest in places. Not for this fall, mind you, but for the 2014 season.
Miller also said the open houses will matter and that comments collected will help shape the policies.
I’ll accept that at face value in this case. In the past, these type of deer management meetings have usually been done at a time when big changes were already pretty much in place and the DNR kind of wanted to make hunters feel like they had a say. Time will tell here.
At any rate, hunters are also welcome to make comments online once the meetings get started. I’ll provide information on how once it is available.
And here, once again, is that press release I mentioned above.
Illinois holding deer management open houses
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has scheduled a series of open houses for the public to ask questions and receive information about Illinois’ deer herd this June.
IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources staff will be on hand at each meeting to discuss the deer management program, hunting regulations, and surveillance/management of chronic wasting disease.
The public is invited to attend the open houses from 4 – 7 p.m. at the following locations and dates:
• June 3 – Rockford Public Library (East Branch), 6685 East State St., Rockford, IL
• June 4 – Hickory Hills Discovery Center (Twinleaf West room), St. Charles Park District, 3795 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles, IL
• June 5 – Champaign County Farm Bureau Auditorium, 801 Country Fair Drive, Champaign, IL
• June 6 – John A. Logan College (TDR room), 700 Logan Drive, Carterville, IL
• June 11 – PASA Park, #1 Pasa Park, Barry, IL (off I-72 west of Pittsfield)
In addition to the open houses, the IDNR will post all materials presented at the meetings on the Department’s website and provide opportunities for hunters, landowners, and other members of the public to review them and provide comments.
More information and details will be available at the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov as it becomes available.
Fishing is ready to bust loose. So are the many plants budding up and ready to bloom.
Nature has been held back some this spring. But no longer.
Sunday afternoon I packed up the three boys and a straggler who was over to visit for a few productive hours of fishing.
Action was slow to start but seemed to pick up as the cloud cover moved on. Problem was, 5-year-old Boo Boo was ready to go home.
“Dad, I need some air conditioning,” he said after we climbed a tall strip mine bank.
So we left with 20 fish to clean: 10 bluegill up to 9 inches, 6 crappie up to 11.25 inches and four small bass.
The best bite was on a simple chartreuse jig with a gray-flecked tube. We also caught fish on pink jigs. But the small crappie spinners were not as productive today. Waxworms also helped.
The middle son put a hurt on his brothers by being patient and fishing his jig slowly. Everybody else who was in a hurry did not catch much.
Our best fish were in south-facing bays. The wind was blowing in nicely and the fish seemed to be there. I could see big schools of bluegill cruising in this lake (which clears up faster than most) and now and then we had flurries of bites. Mostly it was one here, one there.
Same with the ticks. One here, one there. Oh well. Today the itchy tradeoff was well worth it.
The Illinois River may or may not be reaching record levels. But it certainly is packing a flooding wallop as water moves downstream.
Many folks have been fixated on the flooding in Peoria etc. I’m more fascinated with the downstream impacts at places like Banner, Rice Lake, Emiquon and beyond.
Some of the best pictures I’ve seen of the flooding are from gifted photographer Chris Young, who went airborne to get great panoramic shots. Click here to see the pictures.
Young’s most dramatic pictures show water overtopping the levee that protects the Emiquon Preserve. I wonder how many Asian carp flooded over the levee with that water? Hmmm. For a long time the folks at The Nature Conservancy wanted to connect Emiquon to the river. Well, this is a good, albeit minor, test run.
I spent a little time snapping pictures while delivering the May issue of Heartland Outdoors (it’s out now so get to your nearest delivery point to pick up your copy).
There was water everywhere, but the most dramatic spots were areas with lower levees – like Banner Dike road and Rice Lake. Below are those pictures. Along the way I ran into carp slayer Zach Nayden of Point Blank Bowfishing.
He shot the goldfish pictured below out of Duck Creek. Looks like somebody’s old pet had grown fat and sassy.